Living in Alignment with Your Purpose
This is last part of a 7-part series on how to discover your real purpose in life.
- How to Know If You are Living Your Life Purpose NOW
- 5 Reasons You Should Have a Life Purpose (if You Don’t Already Have One)
- Why Earning Money Is Not Your Real Purpose (And How To Know What Is)
- Two Important Things that Led Me to Discover My Real Purpose
- 6 Things to Consider Before Discovering Your Purpose
- How To Discover Your Real Life Purpose in 30 Minutes
- Living in Alignment with Your Purpose
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin–real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
– Howland, Bette
Now that you have discovered your purpose, it does not just end here! This is when life truly begins. 😀 The next step is to define your life goals laddered down from the purpose, is discussed in Part 3: Establish in the 7-part Goal Achievement series. This is a very important step as goals ensure you are getting the best out of your defined purpose and your accountability to your own purpose.
Managing disparity in your current life with your purpose
Depending on how consciously you have been living your life before discovering your purpose, your current life may be entirely at odds with your purpose-derived goals. Perhaps you have a goal to advocate for animal rights, but you are working in an industry which manufactures animal-derived products. Maybe you desire to create wealth abundance for everyone but you are in the line of debt collection.
Instead of feeling liberated with your purpose, the paradox of your situation may leave you feeling disjointed and dejected. Even though you have found your real passion, you are seemingly bound by your circumstances. At this point, some people may start subscribing to a ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ belief. They start to block off their purpose, believing that they are better off blinding themselves to the truth of what their true passion is compared to the alternate scenario where they have full awareness of that passion but are not able to realize it.
This belief is a fallacy, at best. Notice the root word of ignorance is ignore. In choosing the path of ignorance, you are ignoring the real you inside, ignoring that better life you can be leading, ignoring what your true worth is. You start becoming subjected to mental fears and saddling in the false security created by superficial possessions. Over time, you are living the life of a timid mouse rather than being the bold, fearless lion you are meant to be. In choosing to be ignorant, you are living a life of denial. You may obtain happiness from denying the truth, but it is merely a temporal concealment. The truth will continue to blowing like a wind storm against the weak flimsy layer of denial – in time, it will collapse and you will be left to pick up with the shambles. Would you rather learn to deal with the truth now than be forced to do so later on?
Just because there are great odds against achieving your purpose-driven goal does not mean it is impossible. The best things in life come with perseverance and effort. In financial terms, the greater the stakes involved, the greater the reward. If your goals can be so easily achieved, what is the point behind having those goals then?
Recognize that your current life right now has been built by yourself in the past. After all, if you have not been aware of your purpose before, why is there any reason to expect that you are miraculously living it out right now? All the physical creations, from your job, your friends, your relationships, are a product of your thoughts, decisions and actions from the past. They represent who you used to be, but not who you are right now. Detach yourself from them. Just as you have created everything around you in the past, you can also remove them away and create new structures in your life to reflect the new you. Nothing in this reality permanent. No matter how dense the physical creation may seem to be, it is all a matter of time and effort before they start shedding away and become replaced with new creations which accurately reflect the new you.
Transitioning to your purpose
There may be huge gaps between where you stand currently and your goals. Maybe you do not have the skill sets required in the goals you are looking to pursue. Maybe you are not able to immediately make a living with goal. That is totally okay – nobody said that you have to jump and be at your end goal point immediately. No matter where you are, start off by building the bridge to link your current position and your desired end point. Identify commonalities between the two points which can help to facilitate the move. Build mini-steps that you can undertake every day. Do what you can, within your abilities, within your situational contexts, in the most effective way possible.
Because life is not about reaching and attaining that end point. Life is about living in alignment with your purpose every single day, to your best of abilities.
For example, say your purpose is to touch people’s lives and inspire them. Your passion lies in music and your goal is to become a full-time pianist. However, you are currently working as an IT programmer. While these two states may starkly contrast each other at first sight, start by identifying the gaps that stand between where you are and where you want to be. Perhaps you do not know how to play the piano. Maybe being a pianist is not a realistic job to make a living. While your end goal seems like a castle right up in the air, it is up to you to build the ladders up to the castle so you can reach it. Don’t expect to quit your IT job and become a successful pianist immediately, because that is not logical.
Develop your strategy and action plan. Start taking up piano lessons after office-hours. Read books by pianists and their experiences in forming their careers. Listen to music from your favorite pianists when you have the chance. Remind yourself of your goal by placing relevant imagery and stimulants prominently in your work desk and your room. Join the community of musicians in your local area. Look up related resources on music and pianos. Showcase your skills by playing in front of your friends and in parties. Start making your own compositions and sharing with people around you. When you are good enough, start playing (pro bono or otherwise) in lounges and bars. Even at your workplace, you can be true to your purpose via other ways other than music. The most important thing is to live to your purpose every day to your best ability within your constraints, because there is no better way you can do it.
In time to come, you will find that you have shed majority of the old life you have built around. People start associating you as a musician. People start paying you to play at various events. All of a sudden, becoming a full-time pianist does not seem such an unreachable goal after all. By this time, you would have taken enough baby steps to your goal such that there is just a final step needed to reach your final goal.
How I transitioned to my real purpose
When I first discovered my life purpose to help people in 2006, I had just graduated and was about to start working in a marketing company. It was conflicting for me because my passion was in development of people, whereas the industry I was going to work in was rooted in consumerism. To me, consumerism perpetuates a detrimental phenomenon in the society. I felt disjointed inside.
Instead of taking drastic actions to change my job, I contemplated and realized that being in the job puts me I was in a better position to help people – simply because it allows me to first grow through learning the best-in-class practices in a multi-national corporation. After I started working, I focused all my efforts on accelerating my growth curve to the maximum. I was constantly asking for more projects and responsibilities from my managers, while performing to the best of my abilities on the things I was given. I took both formal and informal training very seriously in the company. At the same time, I would read up on personal development during my recreation to better myself.
And in line with living to my purpose of helping people grow, helping people in issue resolution and capability building is always my priority, over work deadlines. I always made it a point to understand my teammates as individuals and friends rather than colleagues, which allowed me to build very meaningful relationships with them.
After two years of learning and growing, I took a break from corporate life so I could reassess my life and plan my next steps ahead in accordance with my purpose. I decided to start this blog to reach out to other people online. I started to form official mentor-mentee coaching relationships with a couple of my friends to bring the best out of their lives, while continuing to offer a listening ear and advice to all other friends.
Every day, I live my purpose to my best abilities. While it is a matter of time before I become a full-fledged life coach, reaching that end goal does not have a big significance to me because I am perfectly happy living my purpose as it is, today. I learned that it is not about reaching the end, but living in the now. If I were to die now, I can do so with absolutely no regrets because there is no better way I could have been living my life right now.
As you start pursuing your purpose, remember that it is about living in alignment with it as best as possible, within your abilities and within your situational contexts. As long as you are doing that, take pride in knowing you are living your life in the best manner possible – Nothing can shake you away with that knowledge.
This is last part of a 7-part series on how to discover your real purpose in life.
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